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Gentle Persuasion

As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to "uphold and defend" the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, which set out to protect nearly 60 million acres of pristine national forest lands across the country. Not long ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who has responsibility for the Forest Service among many things, announced that he will personally review any projects proposed in roadless areas. This move was labelled a year-long "time out" for road building and logging by some in the media, but in fact, there's no guarantee.

With an eye toward nudging the president to a more bold and forthright act, five conservation organizations are launching a major ad campaign aimed directly at the president.

There are two ads—one a simulated wall plaque that thanks the president for his "commitment to protect" roadless areas and urges him to finish the job. It launched today in the Washington Post and Politico.

The second ad, a beautiful 1930s-style poster, concentrates on the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. It begins running on the same date on the Huffington Post,, and the online versions of several western newspapers. It too urges the president to make good on his campaign promise and suggests that readers "catch a glimpse of the pristine Tongass National Forest before it's too late."

The ads may be seen here. The sponsoring organizations are Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society, and the League of Conservation Voters.

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